Drawing from the work of Danigelis (1983), the present research put forth a theory of chronic stress to further our understanding of the processes related to suicide among 10- to 14-year-olds. Specifically, the relationship between problematic drinking in the home and youth suicide rates was examined. The hypothesis that chronic stress, as measured by problem drinking in the home, is related to youth suicide was supported.
Much has been written about overall and age- and sex-specific rates of suicide among persons 15 and older (Durkheim, 1897/1951; Stack, 1980, 1983; Wasserman, 1984; Trovato, 1987; Pampel, 1996; Fernquist & Cutright, 1998). Less is known about younger persons.
Durkheim (1897/1951) sought to explain the underlying social forces behind suicide, but he dismissed alcoholism as a significant cause. Recent research, though, has emphasized the importance of including alcoholism in studies on suicide (Brent, Perper, & Allman, 1987; Wagner, 1997).
Danigelis (1983) has theorized that stress is a significant factor in youth suicide. Based on Danigelis's theory, the present research attempted to link stress, specifically as measured by alcoholism in the family, to youth suicide in the United States.
First, this paper reviews the literature on the family's role in child suicide, including Danigelis's work on youth suicide. Although this research deals with youth suicide rates, most of the literature focuses on attempted rather than completed suicide. Second, it examines the role of chronic stress vis-a-vis youth suicide rates.
CHILD/YOUNG ADOLESCENT SUICIDE AND THE FAMILY
Using data from the Youth in Iceland 1992 Project, Thornlindsson and Bjarnason (1998) found that family integration, as measured by family social support and parental monitoring, was inversely related to both anomie and suicidality for high school students. They further asserted that their findings "underscore the centrality of integration" (p. 107) in the study of youth suicide. In a review of 85 studies on adolescent suicide from the early 1970s to the early 1990s, Kaplan and Maldaver (1993) …